I joined Gizra exactly a year ago. One of my first tasks was to create a content piece describing The Gizra Way. For me it was all still theory. Over the past year, working at Gizra has taken me out of my comfort zone and slowly the company’s way of doing things has seeped into my consciousness and taken over in the best possible way. Here are 5 ways I am living The Gizra Way:
- I am better at using the Gizra Way filter. In approaching a task, I remember - most of the time - to ask “Is this the Gizra Way?” I had to get my hand slapped a few times to internalize this. A silly, but effective example: I opened a document to manage urgent website changes I wanted to implement. Amitai looked at me with eyes that said “Really?” and schooled me in his honest and direct way. I needlessly complicated the process with extra steps and documents. Since then, I have become comfortable with Github and even enjoyed the fact that the “Issues” I open are only a tab away from the “Pull Requests” that are implementing them. I have learned to cut out superfluous steps that would slow implementation, and that includes me speaking Gizra’s common language by using the same tools as the developers.
- The ever-elusive Work-life balance is not a myth. It always sounded like a nice concept but I never actually saw it implemented beyond a lot of lip-service and some flex-hour initiatives. In Gizra, it comes from top-down led by personal example. I was even inspired to jot down my impressions about Gizra’s efforts to bring in female employees to round out the development team. Because personal life is seen as a legitimate priority here, I found myself released from the ongoing stress of hiding my family constraints. I speak freely about my children (I don’t overshare pictures because we all know that kid pictures are really only interesting to their parents). When the babysitter falls through, I can be honest about my reason for moving a meeting out by an hour. It’s a relief and the energy I save is funneled into my work.
- I made timeboxing personal. I immediately connected with the idea of fixing a time period for every task in order to set expectation and avoid scope creep. I have enthusiastically applied it to my personal, already evolved, time management strategy. It is becoming - as I am still a work in process - an amazing way for me to tackle annoying tasks, overcome procrastination, and manage my perfectionism. The angst of an overwhelming task is put at bay by setting a timebox with the purpose of making a dent, rather than the goal of finishing the whole task. What seems too large to approach, becomes possible.
- In a culture of transparency, my only choice was to be myself. It has always amazed me that in Gizra clients can see the developer’s internal communications and actions in Github. They can even see if we mess things up. Gizra goes as far as making public our internal Gitbook documentation that covers sensitive topics like [“Thinking of quitting?”] (https://www.thegizraway.com/thinking_of_quitting.html) My first encounter with this healthy obsession of letting everyone see our warts and all, was when I was asked to share a work in progress - a very, very, very, rough draft. It was uncomfortable because I did not have the chance to bring it up to an acceptable level. The discussion around the content ended up being very matter of fact and about getting to the final goal. The early input saved me a lot of work and I concentrated my efforts on the right content. Quickly, any sense of facade disappeared and I was forced into an environment that I could only be me. It felt like a significant personal transformation - letting go of the need to show a perfect result in lieu of a better process.
- Iterations let me keep striving for excellence - all the while failing. For me, understanding that everything I do is part of a short iteration means that the pressure of not making mistakes is lifted. There is nothing I can do that will have a horrible impact because it will be evaluated in a short period of time and I will be able to pivot accordingly. The other side of the coin is that nothing that I do is seen as permanent because we will always be looking for a better way of doing things. My personal iteration journey is cracking the marketing strategy in Gizra. I put together a solid marketing plan. My great intentions were met with a major implementation fail. I was not able to push forward the marketing efforts within the organization. I was using the wrong language and tools. In Gizra style, this effort was considered the first iteration and we are now repeating the process in a second iteration with, hopefully, the right adjustments based on lessons learned. The marketing plan has stayed pretty much the same. The way the tasks are broken down and tracked is completely different. Instead of getting disheartened - OK, there was some of that but I got over it - I am now excited that Gizra’s work ethic demands that we do it again but better this time.
I find that the Gizra Way provides relief from useless noise that distracts from the tasks in hand, clearing the path for excellence. The Gizra Way has made me: uncomfortable, be myself, get things done, and always think about how to do things better.